India and Nigeria forge stronger economic ties through joint trade committee meeting

Among the sectors identified for potential collaboration were crude oil and natural gas, pharmaceuticals, Unified Payments Interface (UPI), local currency settlement systems, power and renewable energy, agriculture and food processing, education, transport, railways, aviation, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), and development initiatives.

A high-level delegation from India, led by Additional Secretary Amardeep Singh Bhatia of the Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, recently concluded a pivotal Joint Trade Committee (JTC) meeting with their Nigerian counterparts in Abuja. Accompanied by India’s High Commissioner to Nigeria, Shri G Balasubramanian, and Economic Adviser Priya P. Nair, the Indian delegation engaged in comprehensive discussions aimed at bolstering bilateral trade and investment ties between the two nations.

Co-chaired by Permanent Secretary Ambassador Nura Abba Rimi of the Federal Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment, Nigeria, and Additional Secretary Amardeep Singh Bhatia, the JTC meeting undertook a detailed review of recent developments in the economic partnership between India and Nigeria. Both sides acknowledged the vast untapped potential for further expansion and identified several key areas of focus to enhance bilateral trade and facilitate mutually beneficial investments.

Among the sectors identified for potential collaboration were crude oil and natural gas, pharmaceuticals, Unified Payments Interface (UPI), local currency settlement systems, power and renewable energy, agriculture and food processing, education, transport, railways, aviation, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), and development initiatives. Significantly, both sides agreed to expedite the conclusion of a Local Currency Settlement System Agreement, recognizing its potential to strengthen bilateral economic ties further.

The official Indian delegation comprised representatives from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), EXIM Bank of India, and the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), ensuring comprehensive expertise and perspectives during the discussions. Officials from both sides actively engaged in the proceedings, fostering a cordial and fruitful atmosphere conducive to productive dialogue.

In a concerted effort to bolster bilateral trade, India and Nigeria committed to addressing all issues impeding the flow of goods and services between the two nations promptly. Dedicated efforts will be made to facilitate trade promotion, leveraging the immense opportunities presented by the two economies.

Accompanying the official delegation was a business contingent led by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), comprising representatives from various sectors, including power, fintech, telecommunications, electrical machinery, and pharmaceuticals. Their participation underscored the private sector’s keen interest in fostering stronger economic ties between India and Nigeria.

Nigeria holds a prominent position as India’s second-largest trading partner in the African region, with bilateral trade reaching USD 11.8 billion in 2022-23. However, figures for the current fiscal year 2023-24 indicate a declining trend, with trade standing at USD 7.89 billion so far. This scenario highlights the urgency for concerted efforts to revive and boost economic cooperation between the two nations.

Indian companies have made significant investments in Nigeria, amounting to USD 27 billion across diverse sectors such as infrastructure, manufacturing, consumer goods, and services. Approximately 135 Indian companies are actively engaged in Nigeria’s vibrant market, underscoring the robust economic partnership between the two countries.